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Merged foundation holds first meeting

Trustees of the new University of North Georgia Foundation held their first meeting recently. Mary Helen McGruder, board vice chairman, introduces herself while Rich White, board chairman, and other trustees look on.

Trustees of the University of North Georgia (UNG) Foundation Inc. gaveled in the board's first official meeting on Tuesday, June 24, completing another important milestone in the consolidation process. The UNG Foundation begins its existence with assets of $52 million and leads efforts to raise private funds in support of student scholarships and institutional priorities.

UNG was formed in January 2013 through the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College, two of the top-performing schools in the University System of Georgia. UNG is the first of the University System of Georgia institutions that were consolidated in January 2013 to combine its philanthropic foundations. The year-long process to merge the two foundations was guided by the Foundation Consolidation Steering Committee, made up of five trustees from each foundation.

Dr. Andrew Leavitt, CEO of the UNG Foundation Inc. and UNG's vice president for university advancement, said having one foundation allows for greater efficiency and effectiveness in meeting its fundraising mission.

"The future is very bright for this foundation and what we'll be able to accomplish through our mission that is now solely focused on raising money to support the students, faculty and staff of the University of North Georgia," Leavitt said. "I want to thank our trustees, alumni and donors for their support during this time of transition."

In its first year, the new foundation will be chaired by Rich White, a Gainesville businessman and alumnus of the former Gainesville State College. Mary Helen McGruder of Cumming, Georgia, an alumna of the former North Georgia College & State University, will serve as vice chairman of the foundation. Both White and McGruder also served on the UNG Consolidation Implementation Committee, which led the institution-wide consolidation process in 2012.

The short agenda for the June 24 meeting, which was held on UNG's Cumming Campus, included approval of the fiscal year 2015 budget, introduction of Board of Trustee members, and consideration and approval of new trustees.

During the UNG Foundation's first, transitional year, seven members of the Foundation Consolidation Steering Committee will serve as officers; 15 additional trustees from the previous foundations and three newly appointed ones will constitute the foundation in its inaugural year.

The UNG Foundation Board of Trustees will consist of a maximum of 30 elected, voting trustees chosen from alumni, community leaders and regional business leaders, with the university president and the immediate past chairman to serve as ex-officio, voting trustees. An additional five ex-officio, non-voting trustees representing the university and alumni will serve support and advisory roles.

The UNG Foundation Board of Trustees meets quarterly and the next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 9-10 on the university's Dahlonega Campus.

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